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Eoin Doyle / Royal Chief Referral Downpatrick – 9 May 2014

The Referrals Committee, Judge Tony Hunt (in the Chair), John Moloney and P.J.A. O’Connor met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on 12th June 2014 to consider the referral in respect of the apparent improvement in form shown by Royal Chief, trained by Eoin Doyle, in the Tote Betting Now Available Handicap Hurdle at Downpatrick on 9th May 2014 as compared with the horse’s recent form. The Stewards on the day were unable to proceed with an enquiry because the trainer was not available, nor did he have an authorised representative available.  The matter was referred to the Referrals Committee by Denis Egan, Chief Executive of the Turf Club.

Evidence was heard from Eoin Doyle and Andrew Shaw, National Hunt Handicapper. The Committee also reviewed film of the horse’s previous run at Tipperary on 24th April 2014 and his run at Downpatrick on 9th May 2014.

In his evidence Eoin Doyle accepted that he had not appointed an Authorised Representative at Downpatrick and that he was in breach of Rule 147(v).

With regard to the Tipperary run, Mr. Doyle said that it was the horse’s first start in a handicap and that he was slowly away. He also made a mistake at the first hurdle.  He said that he was not entirely happy with the ride as he wanted the horse to be ridden handier than he was.  However he felt that it probably didn’t make much difference to the horse’s final placing.  He said that he accepted the horse improved significantly at Downpatrick and he attributed this to better ground and the horse being ridden more aggressively.

Andrew Shaw said that the improvement between the Tipperary and Downpatrick runs was about 21lbs which was significant. He also noted that the horse had raced wide at Tipperary and wore cheekpieces whereas there were no cheekpieces at Downpatrick and the horse was ridden more prominently.

Having considered the evidence the Committee noted Mr. Doyle’s admission that he was in breach of Rule 147(v) and fined him €250.  In addition they noted the explanation given with regard to the improvement in form.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, solicitor, Naas, Co. Kildare. 

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